As The 2019 Season begins, Teams Need To Score Big In User Experience

We are almost at NFL kickoff which means millions of fans getting ready to attend a game and root for their favorite team. According to a worthwhile (paywalled) read in this week’s Sports Business Journal, that fan experience has to go significantly beyond the old bleachers and beer experience that fans of yesteryear chalked up to visits like Green Bay or Ann Arbor or even old Giants Stadium.

In order to not just capture attention, but dollars and most importantly, hours of time, NFL teams have had to work hard by listening to fans, collecting data and even in some cases, readjusting stadium seating levels to best make the spend of hard-earned dollars worthwhile. The story by Ben Fischer even points to a brand like Pepsi forgoing sponsor dollars to create a better experience in the new Met Life Stadium so that anyone who goes to a concession and uses Pepsi products has a seamless and enjoyable time while waiting.

While there are no new NFL Stadia opening this year; Los Angeles and Las Vegas are next up, it is important to note that few teams, if any, are sitting back and hoping that wins and tradition fill these massive buildings each week. The implementation of 5G speed for wireless, microbreweries in stadium, custom delivered food options, even reimbursement for parking if fans get delayed during egress, are all on tap for teams from the Jets to the Steelers and the Dolphins, and each week will involve detailed listening, data collection and analysis to make sure the mistakes of week one won’t be repeated further down the line. With better data collection and implementation comes a greater and more respectful dialogue with the fan, and that immediate response to guest needs gives teams a leg up on not just getting dollars, but on getting to be more aligned with the fandom of everyone who enters the building, be it for the first time or the thousandth.

The immediacy of social media plays a blessing and a curse for sure, as fans can blast issues far and wide, but it also allows for teams to share best practices and adjustments responding to issues at a moment’s notice. Listening and engaging will again be key to the fan experience.

So, as we get closer to the first week of the season who will be the winners and losers? From our perspective, it’s those who read and react with their fans as much as the quarterback does with his receivers. That combo of adjusting on and off the field will tell the tale, this fall more than ever before.

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